A Nation Dammed

We are a nation damned.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We are past being able to pretend otherwise, no matter what comfort might be found in the deception. The United States has invaded and conquered a foreign nation under false pretexts. President Bush and his cronies lied us all into a war.

But that is not why we are damned.

The culmination of decades of accumulated overspending by the government has created an aggregate debt for the United States federal and state governments of $14 trillion dollars. That’s fourteen million million dollars. Or, to put it in a more personal scale, more than $48,000 for every single living human being in the United States, plus the accumulating interest.

The interest on that government debt now exceeds all the personal income tax collected by that government. That means that the government isn’t keeping up with the interest on the debt, let alone able to pay down the principle. Even before the wars started with lies, the US Government was sinking deeper into debt by one third of a trillion dollars every year. With Bush’s war, the debt is increasing at another half trillion every year just at the Federal level. And because the federal Government, struggling with payments on past debts, is sending less money back to the states, the states are sinking deeper into debt as well.

But that is not why we are damned.

The national fiscal crisis is accelerating because of soaring unemployment, and the forced migration of workers from higher paying jobs to lower paying ones. This is occurring for two reasons. The first is that as tax revenues falter, the cash-strapped government raises tax rates. This increases the cost of products and services inside the United States without increasing their quality or desirability. Indeed American companies, struggling to keep prices competitive, are forced to sacrifice quality.

As an inevitable result, American companies have either been driven out of business by foreign competition able to sell superior products at lower prices, or been forced to outsource their own operations to regions with lower tax burdens.

The US Government attempted to conceal this loss of manufacturing with the so-called “Service Economy”, the ludicrous notion that one can prosper a nation by doing each other’s laundry for a fee. But while the moving of cash back and forth for services created more opportunities for taxation, fewer and fewer products were being made within the United States for sales to foreign countries. All the while, Americans were buying foreign-made products because they were of better quality and lower price than American products. Indeed many products needed for every day life are simply not made in the USA any more. When Ampex invented the VCR, they did not even bother approaching American manufacturers but licensed directly to the Japanese. When Seymour Cray was building his supercomputers, the chips he needed were only available from Japanese manufacturers.

Money is flowing out of the country at a billion and a half dollars per day. And as government debt drives taxes higher, the situation can only get worse.

But that is not why we are damned.

Despite the huge government debt, despite the loss of manufacturing over the last 30 years, despite soaring unemployment, despite American women and children sleeping in alleys and eating out of trash cans, the United States government hands out trillions of dollars as gifts to their friends (who used to be their enemies) and to make war on their enemies (who used to be their friends).

But that is not why we are damned.

Maybe the problem is the Congress. Congress is supposed to represent the people, but a body composed of millionaires and lawyers can hardly be expected to understand how to actually make things work. Maybe Congress would better serve the people if it were made up of teachers, doctors, road engineers, factory workers, bakers, people who actually know how to make a nation function, build an infrastructure, and know what it is like to have to live paycheck to paycheck in a nation where the government makes more money off of your work than you do and is always asking for more.

But that is not why we are damned.

We are damned because we know all the above and do nothing. Like the Germans of 1930s Germany we see Der Fuhrer trying to distract the populace from the self-serving choices the government makes by creating a war with lies and deceptions, yet stay silent, less we be accused of being traitors to the national security. We voice our outrage when a rock star bares her breast at a sporting event, because rock stars cannot after all hurt us, raise our taxes, or conscript our children to be crippled or killed in wars. But we remain silent, or at best speak in hushed tones with a trusted few of our concerns about the government, which does hurt us, which does raise our taxes, and which has and continues to conscript our children to be crippled or killed in wars.

We are damned by our silence. We are damned by our inaction. We are damned by our fear to speak out. We are damned by our weakness. We are damned by being sheep under a government of wolves.

We are damned unless and until you realize that your anger and outrage must be targeted where it is needed, not just where it is harmless. We are damned by our willingness to be angry with those who cannot affect our lives, while remaining too afraid to be angry with those who can. We are damned because individuals who refuse to obey the law morally offend us, but we remain enablers of a government that refuses to obey the Constitution. We are damned until WE THE PEOPLE remember that we ARE a people, and that this nation is US.

The President is not the nation. The media is not the nation. The selfish desires of a powerful few are not the nation. The Congress is not the nation.

This nation is 288 million teachers, doctors, bricklayers, road layers, bridging engineers, railroad workers, bakers, grocers, and thousands of others who actually make the nation work. But we seem to have forgotten that simple truth, that wisdom conveyed in those first three words to the Preamble to the Constitution, “We The People”.

The Constitution makes it clear that the nation is the people, and the government only a temporary custodian of our national sovereignty that rules by and only by the leave of the people.

We are damned because we have forgotten that the government is the employee of the people, and that like any employee the government is required to obey orders, not to give them.

We are damned because we have forgotten that as the employers of the government, we have the right to decide what our employees can do and more importantly, what they cannot.

We are damned because we have forgotten who is really supposed to be in charge.
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